The Blind Side (2009)
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
The Princess and the Frog (2009)
The African Queen (1951)
New on DVD are â€¦ too many movies to cover here.
Some highlights: Sandra Bullockâ€™s Oscar-winning performance highlights The Blind Side, an uplifting, fact-based story of no-nonsense Southern evangelical ex-cheerleader mom Leigh Anne Tuohy and her familyâ€™s relationship with Michael Oher, who went on to play football for Ole Miss and the Baltimore Ravens. The film is refreshingly candid about the Tuohysâ€™ evangelical faith and its role in their opening their home to a gigantic, impoverished black youth with nowhere to go.
Then thereâ€™s two Best Animated Feature nominees. In a Blu-ray/DVD combo edition, The Princess and the Frog is Disneyâ€™s Jazz Age, Southern Gothic spin on the Frog Prince story, with an industrious daughter of poor, hardworking New Orleans parents and a frivolous playboy prince with something to teach as well as learn from the heroine. The setting provides a startling cultural context for the villain, a voodoo doctor with demonic powers. Too scary for young kids, itâ€™s Disneyâ€™s most theologically correct depiction of magic ever (though marred by a benevolent hoodoo mama). Still, an entertaining if flawed film.
More challenging is Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes Andersonâ€™s stop-motion take on a Roald Dahl story about a thieving fox. Iâ€™m not big on Andersonâ€™s quirky tales of dysfunctional families (e.g., The Royal Tenenbaums), but the animal fable seems to express the directorâ€™s existential preoccupations more effectively than his live-action films.
Can you believe The African Queen has never been on DVD? John Hustonâ€™s romantic adventure stars Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart as an unlikely duo â€” a missionary spinster and an unkempt river rat â€” on a harrowing steamboat voyage through Africa during World War I. Maybe not the classic itâ€™s cracked up to be, but a must-see, and highly entertaining.
Bonus Picks & Passes: For my review of The Stoning of Soraya M. with Shohreh Aghdashloo and Jim Caviezel, see my NCRegister.com blog. For whatâ€™s wrong with The Twilight Saga: New Moon, see DecentFilms.com. Donâ€™t miss Toy Story and Toy Story 2, now in Blu-ray/DVD combo editions.
Content advisory:The Blind Side: Some variously suggestive and/or crude dialogue; a discreet marital bedroom scene (nothing explicit); crude language and cursing, including a few religious epithets; drug references; sports roughness and brief violence. Teens and up. Fantastic Mr. Fox: Minced cussing; a suggestive line; murky depiction of bad behavior; animated violence (e.g., foxes killing chickens). Not really for younger kids. The Princess and the Frog: Some scary occult-themed images; morally mixed depiction of voodoo; mild sensuality and suggestive references. Too scary for young kids. The African Queen: Wartime violence; brief drunkenness. Teens and up.